Recently I was asked to write a refection for the sosj.org.au website focusing on Zero Discrimination day. When writing the reflection I was inspired to create a modern interpretation of the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus...
Zero Discrimination is observed by the United Nations every year on March 1. This day celebrates the right of every person to live fully and productively with dignity. As the official website states: “Zero Discrimination Day is helping to create a global movement of solidarity to end all forms of discrimination.”
With a spoon full of honestly, I’ll admit that when I was asked to write a reflection on this day, I did indeed have to look it up. But, with reflection, I’ve found that this day certainly holds significant resonance within myself and for our Catholic and Christian communities.
This resonance springs forth through the core gospel teachings of love, compassion, and justice. These teachings rooted in Jesus’ messages, can now be lived through a Church mission to foster inclusivity, respect, and dignity for all individuals, irrespective of their background, race, gender, beliefs, sexuality, or socio-economic status.
The ministry of Jesus exemplified acceptance, empathy, and outreach towards marginalised and oppressed groups, urging followers to treat others as they would like to be treated. This resonates profoundly with the ethos of Zero Discrimination Day, as it underscores the importance of embracing diversity and eradicating prejudices to create a more just and compassionate world.
We certainly see this ethos of zero discrimination through the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10), as Jesus radically welcomed and listened with him. With prayerful reflection I have created this new artwork of how I imagine Jesus would welcome Zacchaeus today and how I feel called to live Zero Discrimination.
This ethos can also be seen more recently with Pope Francis’s message of love and inclusion, approving blessings for same-sex couples. This has taken empathetic steps, acknowledging the pains of the past, and beginning to take steps towards a new non-discrimination direction.
Moreover, I’m aware that Zero Discrimination Day can serve as a poignant introspective reminder to evaluate my attitudes and actions towards others. This day can be like an examen of sorts, to prompt a re-examination of biases, prejudices, and systemic inequalities that might exist within myself, society and within the Church itself.
Perhaps then on the first of March my (and your) reflective prayer may include:
- How am I and how can I actively contribute to creating an environment where everyone is valued and respected?
- How am I or can I be like Zacchaeus, Pope Francis, or Jesus?
- How can I take this opportunity to renew efforts in promoting a culture of inclusivity, understanding, and love in line with the teachings of Christ?
I hope that Zero Discrimination Day may inspire us to strive for a world where each person is welcomed, recognised, empowered, and treated with the utmost dignity and respect as they are. May this hope sprout new life within ourselves and our world with heart felt visions deeply embedded in both the UN's initiative, Catholicism, and the at the heart of the gospels.
As we begin this year I'll be finishing up my design contract with NCRS, it's been a privilege and pleasure to work as part of the team and be the lead designer for the NZ RE Curriculum document - i'm truly grateful. I'll also now be entering practicum placement as my full-time counselling studies continue. Therefore the next Connection email and blog post will likely be a few months away because of the intensity of this. I would greatly appreciate it if you could please keep me in your prayers and please know you're in mine!
Much love and prayer as we enter into the gift of this new year...
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